Encouraging Collaboration

August 10, 2011 tinkisamy

Encouraging Collaboration

Instructors have the opportunity to establish the feeling of "oneness" in the learning community from the very first initial post and interaction with the learner. It is essential for the instructor to model their expectations by providing a model for discussion. There needs to be an example for the learners to return to for guidance and a starting point for their own work. This helps with uneasiness and the feeling of isolation that may occur with online learning. The instructor “sets the state for collaborative work” (Palloff & Pratt, 2007, p. 159).

With this in mind, when should you (as the instructor) determine that a learner is not an active participant in the environment? What can you do to engage and encourage the learner in the environment and the content?

After reading the book chapter excerpt, Building Online Communities, answer the above questions. Use any additional resources that you can find that will add to your response and thoughts. Make sure you check the rubric for clarification of expectations.

By Wednesday:

Post your thoughts on encouraging the online learner described above. Make sure you provide ideas for engagment and make sure you cite your resources appropriately.

By Sunday:

Read a through your fellow learners postings. Respond to at least three or more of your fellow learners in any of the ways listed below:

  • Build on something that was posted by another learner.
  • Explain why and how you see things differently.
  • Ask a clarifying or deeper thinking question.
  • Share an insight
  • Offer an opinion and make sure you explain your stance.
  • Use your experiences to deeped the post.
  • Expand on the other learners post.

Return to the discussion every few days to read the responses to your initial posting and provide feedback and/or clarification when necessary. Remember to read over each post and response. It is important to check your writing and make sure it sounds the way you intend it to be expressed. Enjoy learning from each other!

Resources

Palloff, R., & Pratt, K. (2007). Building online communities: Effective strategies for the virtual classroom. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Discussion Rubric. McClain A. https://acrobat.com/app.html#d=yqQu-FFKp9YO3BjU-HFByw

Discussion Rubric. Modified from Original Walden University Discussion Rubric. Retrieved August 9, 2011, from http://inside.waldenu.edu/c/Student_Faculty/StudentFaculty_15198.htm

 

 

 

 

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9 Comments Add your own

  • 1. David Lloyd  |  August 12, 2011 at 10:25 pm

    Ideally, an online learning community has members who actively look out for each other and actively contribute toward the common goal of learning together. (Lloyd, 2011) When the facilitator of an online learning community can inspire learners to take responsibility for each other’s learning in addition to their own, the resulting social connectedness results in the deepest kind of learning in which each individual’s conceptual framework includes the conceptual frameworks of other learners also. (Palloff & Pratt, 2007)

    With this in mind, when should you (as the instructor) determine that a learner is not an active participant in the environment?

    A learner is not an active participant if the learner is not posting or replying to posts.

    To answer the question “When,” it should happen as soon as possible, which means the instructor should diligently monitor discussion groups, especially at the beginning of a course. (Palloff & Pratt, 2007)

    What can you do to engage and encourage the learner in the environment and the content?

    Engaging learners means different things depending on which part of the course is under discussion. At the beginning of a course, engaging learners means actively prompting responses from learners, asking leading questions, and possibly even calling a student at home if they are not participating at the beginning of a course. In later stages of a course, instructor involvement should decrease. (Oosterhof, Conrad, & Ely, 2008)

    References:

    Lloyd, David W. (2011, May 5). Online learning communities [Web log post]. Retrieved from http://rechargepoint.blogspot.com/2011/05/online-learning-communities.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+RechargePoint+%28Recharge+Point%29

    Oosterhof, A., Conrad, R.M., & Ely, D.P. (2008). Interaction and collaboration online. In Assessing Learners Online. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education, Inc.

    Palloff, R., & Pratt, K. (2007). Promoting collaborative learning. In Building online communities: Effective strategies for the virtual classroom (pp. 157-184). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass. Retrieved from http://sylvan.live.ecollege.com/ec/courses/63694/CRS-CW-5364572/Documents/Paloff_Ch8.pdf

    • 2. tinkisamy  |  August 13, 2011 at 11:43 pm

      Thanks David for your insight. I agree that is it important and essential to respond as soon as possible. Do you think there is a time when an instructor should not post,or wait to post?

      • 3. David Lloyd (@thebigbaddad)  |  August 14, 2011 at 9:30 am

        Yes, absolutely there is a time when an instructor should not post or at least wait to post. That time is after the course routine is established, and learners clearly understand participation expectations. When instructions are clear, discussion has already been clearly prompted by existing posts, too much instructor involvement can actually squelch further comments. Who wants to contribute to a discussion in which “the answer” has already been given?

        As a student, I don’t read any responses in a class discussion until I have posted at least two responses of my own. The only exception is when an existing response has been directed at me. Late in a discussion, I usually look for the posts that have had the least discussion. In those cases, I don’t consider instructor responses. If I find a student who has only received an instructor response, that is the post I will choose for planning a response. Once I have responded to two posts, then I read the whole discussion and respond as my own interests prompt me.

      • 4. tinkisamy  |  August 14, 2011 at 7:43 pm

        Thank you for your response David. You made a great point about choosing your responses. I also look through to find posts that have not had any responses and try to be encouraging and build on the thoughts expressed. I also agree that sometimes a discussion thread fizzles or has been expanded as much as possible with the ideas already present. I also think that as an instructor we need to find ways to extend that fizzled post 🙂 This is a challenge but I know most of us are up for it.

  • 5. David Lloyd (@thebigbaddad)  |  August 13, 2011 at 9:13 am

    1. David Lloyd | August 12, 2011 at 10:25 pm

    Your comment is awaiting moderation.
    (reposted 8/13 at 9:11 am)

    Ideally, an online learning community has members who actively look out for each other and actively contribute toward the common goal of learning together. (Lloyd, 2011) When the facilitator of an online learning community can inspire learners to take responsibility for each other’s learning in addition to their own, the resulting social connectedness results in the deepest kind of learning in which each individual’s conceptual framework includes the conceptual frameworks of other learners also. (Palloff & Pratt, 2007)

    With this in mind, when should you (as the instructor) determine that a learner is not an active participant in the environment?

    A learner is not an active participant if the learner is not posting or replying to posts.

    To answer the question “When,” it should happen as soon as possible, which means the instructor should diligently monitor discussion groups, especially at the beginning of a course. (Palloff & Pratt, 2007)

    What can you do to engage and encourage the learner in the environment and the content?

    Engaging learners means different things depending on which part of the course is under discussion. At the beginning of a course, engaging learners means actively prompting responses from learners, asking leading questions, and possibly even calling a student at home if they are not participating at the beginning of a course. In later stages of a course, instructor involvement should decrease. (Oosterhof, Conrad, & Ely, 2008)

    References:

    Lloyd, David W. (2011, May 5). Online learning communities [Web log post]. Retrieved from http://rechargepoint.blogspot.com/2011/05/online-learning-communities.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+RechargePoint+%28Recharge+Point%29

    Oosterhof, A., Conrad, R.M., & Ely, D.P. (2008). Interaction and collaboration online. In Assessing Learners Online. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education, Inc.

    Palloff, R., & Pratt, K. (2007). Promoting collaborative learning. In Building online communities: Effective strategies for the virtual classroom (pp. 157-184). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass. Retrieved from http://sylvan.live.ecollege.com/ec/courses/63694/CRS-CW-5364572/Documents/Paloff_Ch8.pdf

  • 6. Rudy Jackson  |  August 13, 2011 at 2:58 pm

    When should you (as the instructor) determine that a learner is not an active participant in the environment?

    It is the instructor’s responsibility to create the learning environment and facilitate the engagement in learning among the students in an online course. Therefore, determining that a learner is not an active participant in the environment requires a clear definition of what “active participation” means in this course, instruction for active participation, how this process of evaluating students’ active participation will occur, and the impact of active participation on student grading. These actions such be incorporated into the course design and the instructor should go about implementing each component at the very beginning of the course. These definitions, evaluation procedures, instructions, facilitation procedures, and the impact on grading should be clearly stated in the course syllabus and reinforced during the course welcome.
    These activities appear to suggest that the instructor should begin making determinations of each student’s level of active participation from the first day of class.

    What can you do to engage and encourage the learner in the environment and the content?

    Ensuring that students know how to use the technology for participating and monitoring/facilitating strategies that encourage the learner must be delivered effectively. First, if the student is unfamiliar or uncomfortable with the technology, then his/her ability to participate I decreased. Moreover, the lack of competence may also decrease the student confidence and motivation to participate for fear of making mistakes. One or more low risk activities (i.e., tell us about yourself) that confirm that student know how to access and use the technology for participation and collaboration is essential. Second, monitoring participation and adding comments, critiques, and asking questions is an important part of facilitating online discussion. However, in this week’s video resource, Palloff and Pratt also warn instructors not to respond to all post so that they do not dominate the conversation.

    These are just a few of the basic strategies in a comprehensive system that encourages all students to participate fully in collaborative activities.

    Palloff, R., & Pratt, K. (2007). Building online communities: Effective strategies for the virtual classroom. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

    Video: Palloff, R., & Pratt, K. “Assessing Interaction and Collaboration in Online Environments”

  • 7. tinkisamy  |  August 13, 2011 at 11:45 pm

    Rudy,
    Great point about determining what an “active participant” really is. The instructor needs to make sure they outline what this type of participant looks like from the very beginning of the course. Like you suggested there needs to be a clear definition located within the syllabus and definitely within the welcome section. Thanks for your input and thoughts.

  • 8. Rudy Jackson  |  August 13, 2011 at 11:46 pm

    Amy,

    Any word on the post you left in the student lounge about the Week 6 application assignment. E-mail me at rudyjackson@mac.com.

    Rudy

  • 9. tinkisamy  |  August 14, 2011 at 7:59 pm

    Reflection

    Was the thread lively and showed evidence that your assignment prompted an engaging conversation? Why or why not?

    I do think the thread was lively, in regard to the fellow classmates who were assigned to my blog. It was not lively in regard to others coming and taking and interest and posting. This could be for many reasons. I also have many problems with my blog and being able to log in for a few days, so this also hindered my responses. In regard to my blog discussion both classmates responded to the questions and were very thorough and supplied evidence and support for their ideas. I was able to respond and ask some follow up questions. I
    In the future I would ask more extending questions and hopefully with more activity this will work more effectively. I could have included some higher level questioning in the initial post, but I have to be careful to remember my students and their understanding of the information. I could also encourage more student to student responses. I could have asked one classmate about something that was brought up by another. This would foster connections and some new ideas.


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